Education

Fifteen universities and over 10 colleges add up to one unbeatable innovation economy.


The Research Triangle Region’s knowledge, discoveries and talent don’t just spring up out of the soil.

They’re cultivated by the schools and universities of North Carolina: World-renowned research universities. Small liberal arts colleges. Historically black institutions. And colleges that deliver higher education to rural residents.

Together, these institutions accelerate innovation and business growth, preparing graduates to advance a knowledge-based economy that prizes – and rewards – its pupils.

Research & Development

Three Tier 1 research universities – Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – located within 20 minutes of each other formed the “Research Triangle” for which our region is named. By the way, no place in the country are these caliber of universities this close together.

The strong presence and historic collaboration of these North Carolina universities are what helps us attract more than $2.5 billion of federal R&D funding each year and create more than 400 start-ups.

Their R&D – together with our many federal and private labs – catalyzes discoveries that lead to new products, services and processes. And those, time and time again, create new companies and jobs.

Our research universities, colleges and schools support the commercialization process in a variety of ways. Their programs develop and train entrepreneurs, help inventors patent and license new technologies, and connect researchers and entrepreneurs with venture funders and business development networks, promoting the startup and growth of an endless stream of new companies.

Cluster Support

Specialty schools and research centers across the region offer educational and research programs that support the growth of our major clusters.

Centennial Campus at North Carolina State University provides a vibrant space for university, industry and government partners to interact in multidisciplinary programs to solve contemporary problems. Its 1,334-acre campus provides office, lab and incubator space for more than 1,600 corporate and government employees working in such areas as biomanufacturing, green grid technology, open source networking, advanced analytics, biomedical engineering and nanotechnology.

Campbell University’s School of Pharmacy and Clinical Research supports the growth of our biotechnology and pharmaceutical clusters with research, expertise and top graduates.

North Carolina Central University’s Golden LEAF Biotechnology Training and Education Center, the largest of its kind in the nation, provides on-site and distance education programs to train as many as 2,500 students and prospective employees each year.

The Business Accelerator for Sustainable Enterprise at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill incubates a select group of companies each year to speed the growth and impact of green businesses with social and environmental goals.

Skilled, Knowledgeable Graduates

Universities and colleges from Raleigh to Durham, to Buies Creek and Wilson to across our region understand their value in promoting economic growth. Their high-quality programs produce exceptional graduates in every field.

That’s partially because these North Carolina colleges’ academic programs stay highly relevant to the real world of business, thanks to tight connections with industry partners and faculty who consult regularly with businesses around the world.

All this translates into graduates – nearly 42,000 a year – who are prepared to hit the workforce running, poised to innovate and lead their companies to a prosperous, innovative future.


Research Universities (Tier One)

Colleges & Universities

Specialized Centers